Homemade Puff Pastry

in Breads,Recipes

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There’s no reason to fear puff pastry. It only contains 4 ingredients (including the water) and the major effort is waiting for it to chill several times before you can make it into flaky croissants, crisp palmiers, or delicious fruit turnovers, to name a few.

Puff Pastry
makes about 1 pound

7/8 cup unsalted butter (7 oz.)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (7 oz.)
1 tsp. salt
4 T. cold water

1. Mix the salt into the flour. Divide the butter in two equal portions. Cut half the butter into small pieces and cut into the flour, using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingertips. Work quickly, not worrying if it isn’t perfect.

2. Sprinkle in the water, mixing well.

3. Stir and knead. It may seem like you need more water, but try not to add much more. The dough will begin to behave as you knead it.

4. Form it into a ball and knead a few more times.

5. Form the dough into a square, thumping it against the work surface, and wrap it in waxed paper.
6. Put it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes until it is firm.

7. Remove it from the refrigerator to a lightly floured board. Press a rolling pin into the dough in a “t” to begin to roll it out.

8. Roll the dough into a square about 1/2 inch thick. Press the remaining butter into a square (I pressed it under a plate) and shape it into a square with the side of a knife. Place the butter in the center of the dough square catycornered to the dough.

9. Fold the corners of dough into the center over the butter, making a package.

10. Seal the edges of dough by pressing with the rolling pin, wrap, and return the package to the refrigerator for another 30 minutes or so.

11. The final goal is for the dough to be rolled out a total of six times.
1st & 2nd rolling out:
Take out the chilled dough and roll it out, using flour to dust your surface and pin, until it is a thin sheet.

12. Fold into thirds. If the dough is still chilled and relaxed, roll it out again. If it isn’t, return to the refrigerator until it is cold again and roll it out a second time. Wrap and chill.

13. 3rd & 4th roll out:
Take it out a second time, roll it out, fold into thirds, and roll out again. Fold into thirds, wrap and refrigerate another 30 minutes (or longer).

14. 5th & 6th roll out:
Take it out one more time and roll out two final times. At this point the dough is ready to be used or wrapped and refrigerated or frozen. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator and at least a month if frozen.

Puff Pastry Tips:

  • When preparing the dough for baking, make sure all edges you want to puff up are cut cleanly with a sharp knife or the layers may stick together and have a tough time rising. If you paint the dough with an egg wash, try to keep it from the cut edges because it may glue the layers down as it cooks.
  • Using unsalted butter is preferred because it is the moisture in the butter, turned to steam, which helps the dough to puff. Apparently salt inhibits this somewhat by making the water take longer to convert to steam. Don’t substitute margarine or whipped butter spread.
  • It is best to make puff pastry in a cool room. Heat and humidity will make the dough more difficult to roll out because the butter will try to melt on you and make a mess, fast.

This is one basic and classic recipe, but there are a variety of puff pastry versions. For example, you can substitute cake flour or cornstarch for a portion of the all-purpose flour for extra tenderness. There
is also a variation for croissants which includes a yeast dough. One method incorporates part of the flour into the butter pat to help stabilize the dough while rolling out. Experiment and find the one that works best for you.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris October 24, 2011

Thanks for the pictures. For those who never had a “kitchen figure” to teach us these things, it gives us something to compare our step by step workings to.

2 Cristen January 25, 2012

These are the worst things I have ever cooked, and I went exactly by the recipe. They taste like flour, are extremely tough, and didn’t rise. Don’t waste your time and effort trying to make these. Find a different recipe!!

3 Candice March 25, 2012

I don’t know what the last commenter did, but I made this and it was AMAZING! I made it for the base of a beet and goat cheese tart. It was light, rose very well, and was very light and buttery; just as a puff pastry should be. The key to it is to keep it cold or it will not turn out well. I’ve used other recipes that day all day or longer and this one was very comparable for being so quick.

4 Tomato Lady March 25, 2012

Candice–Thank you! It’s a pretty classic take on puff pastry. And you’re on the money about the temperature. When the butter gets melty, it’s going to go awry. A beet and goat cheese tart sounds awesome, btw.

5 John June 13, 2012

Hi, do you know a recipe that uses 1 cup of unsalted butter, I can’t find any, and would really like to try this recipe. 1cup of unsulted butter because I have that much on hand and find the 3/4 cup extra a bit much!

6 Daisy June 13, 2012

John–I would just hunt around the recipe sites like cooks.com and allrecipes.com and see what you turn up. Should be easy to adapt one of those.

7 coolina kaynes June 22, 2012

HORIBLE! take up another hobbie

8 Daisy June 23, 2012

Bless your heart! Good effort!

9 Patty Collins August 7, 2012

Just FYI–I was looking for a Puff Pastry recipes. I found this one with pictures!!! Yea! I also looked at Emeril’s recipe–his is almost identical to this one but he rates it as “Difficult”. So for those of you that had failures–maybe you could go buy some frozen puff pastry–it works well!

10 Anonymous September 21, 2012

At what temperature do you cook it and for how long?

11 Daisy September 21, 2012

Anon–350 deg F until golden brown and puffy.

12 Bee Bobs November 9, 2012

Not horrible at all. The perfect recipe in fact.

This was great Daisy, thanks so much!! Was hunting around for a while to find a simple and delicious recipe and this turned out amazing!

13 Daisy November 9, 2012

Bee Bobs–Thanks! Kind of you to let me know.

14 stacey December 20, 2012

my god im must b thick went sticky so cudnt do owt with it grrrr

15 Lily December 28, 2012

I made a really good dip to go with these! Mix some honey with a little bit of cinnamon. It is delicious.

16 Paula December 22, 2013

loved this recipe the first time i used it although things went slightly arye.. it wasnt the recipes fault it was mine thankfully i dont mind getting my hands dirty..i have been looking forward to using this recipe again and with christmas here its a great excuse to do so.. maybe this time with patience and having made the mistakes i did last time it will be perfect ty for the recipe and happy holidays :D

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